1

Yet, Chelsea didn’t lament for long. “It can’t be helped. You can’t save everybody.”

For someone who asked for assistance in allowing her past companion to return, Chelsea’s expression and behavior made her seem too unconcerned. Even Pina’s mouth gaped slightly in astonishment as she watched from behind. Unfortunately for Chelsea’s companion, the only one who thought that Chelsea’s response was reprehensible was Pina.

“Yup, you can’t save everybody.”

“Yes, I’m glad you agree.” Chelsea smiled brightly at Zich’s response. “That bastard Glen…um, can I call him a bastard?”

“There’s no need for you to ask permission to curse him. No, does calling a bastard ‘bastard’ really count as cursing?”

“That’s certainly true.” Now that she had Zich’s permission and was overflowing with the desire to curse Glen, Chelsea changed Glen’s identity and background as she saw fit. “Sir Zich, I think I can connect with you much better than that disgusting, lower-than-maggot bastard born from heaps of trash.”

Zich listened to Chelsea’s descriptions of Glen like he was appreciating a masterful music piece and agreed. Surprisingly, the two hit it off pretty well; it seemed as if their nasty personalities allowed them to connect.

“Sir Zich, rather than that boring Lubella, wouldn’t it be better for me to be the Saintess?” Chelsea tried to push her luck. Although Zich could clearly see through her intentions, he surprisingly nodded.

“Well, there’s truth in your words, but…”

“Then…!”

“However, your skills are lacking. As I said before, no matter what you do, your abilities can’t compare to hers at all.”

“But Sir Zich, if you help me in that aspect a bit...”

“Too bothersome.”

Chelsea was disappointed to hear this, and Zich added, “Even if your personality is more similar to mine than Lubella’s, do you really think I will take your side?”

Zich had built quite the camaraderie with Lubella now. It would’ve been unimaginable before his regression, but now that Zich considered Lubella as a companion of sorts, he could no longer take Chelsea’s side.

“It can’t be helped.” Chelsea backed off, but Zich was sure that she hadn’t given up her hopes of becoming a Saintess yet.

‘What a funny girl. She’s so damn persistent.’ Zich clicked his tongue inside his head. However, he didn’t say anything else to Chelsea. The two weren’t that familiar with each other, so it was already more than enough that Zich gave her his advice to give up on the Saintess position. Zich could clearly foresee a thorny future for Chelsea as she persisted in her goal, but that was her own problem to deal with. Thus, Zich shifted his attention to Pina.

“Was your goal to revive your school of magic’s glory?”

“Yes.” Unlike the Pulru mages who suffered almost no damage, the Conrad mages who fought alongside the allied forces suffered significant casualties. Although the allied forces did their best to protect the mages, battles swayed in favor of the Steelwalls throughout the entire war. Therefore, they couldn’t shield the mages from all damage. On top of the rebellion they raised in the magical tower, they were now marked as having worked under Bellid supporters. The future for them didn’t look bright. At the very least, the only hope they had was for Pina to be able to gain the title of a dragon slayer and claim her share of part of the dragon’s body. However, like before, it seemed impossible for the Conrad School of Magic to rise and rival the Pulru School of Magic.

“Okay, good work then.” Zich turned around.

“Please wait,” Pina stopped him. “If, perhaps, there is anything that could help regain our honor, could you let our school join?”

Zich stared at Pina. Her eyes were slightly lowered. She wasn’t as brazen-faced as Chelsea, but she had managed to say her part and waited patiently for Zich’s response.

“You mean employing you guys like mercenaries?”

“…!” Pina’s body shuddered slightly, and she gripped her fists. A mage received preferential treatment wherever they went. They were like nobles in this regard and each one of them held considerable pride knowing this. Thus, it was a huge blow to Pina’s ego for mages to be treated like mercenaries. However, she didn’t refute and instead acknowledged Zich’s words.

“…Yes. You can think of us as mercenaries, so if there’s anything that can help gain honor and glory, remember us Conrad mages.”

“Ah, please include me in the list!” Chelsea added.

‘If I act alongside him, I’m sure I’ll be able to make a name for myself,’ Chelsea thought. After all, Lubella had shot up in the ranks after meeting Zich. As someone who used to be one of the Saintess candidates, Chelsea had access to plenty of information within the church and knew what kind of great feats Lubella accomplished while working with Zich.

‘I can’t lose to Lubella in terms of accomplishments any more than this,’ Chelsea thought. There was a huge difference between them in this area, and the gap couldn’t be any wider than now. Other people thought that the competition was already over, but she had no intentions of giving up. Chelsea thought that since most of Lubella’s accomplishments came from Zich, she would be able to do the same if she stuck next to him too. Zich stared at the two.

‘First of all, their skills aren’t bad.’ These were the people Glen brought with him after Zich stole all the party members he wanted. Their skills were still not fully developed from their lack of experience and youth, but their skills were still formidable.

‘They aren’t bad.’ It wouldn’t be difficult to make good use of them, and thus, Zich said, “I will call you if I need you guys.”

* * *

Zich was drinking tea with Weig and Lubella. It had been a while since he’d seen them. Although Zich had seen the others a few times after the war, it was his first time meeting Weig and Lubella after the war ended. Lubella and Weig drank their tea in silence. Their complexions brightened every time warm tea passed down their throats.

“It seems like you’re very busy these days,” said Zich.

Lubella paused at Zich’s question. She sighed loudly and put a half-empty cup on the cup holder. “Do I look tired?”

“Yes.”

Apart from her behavior, one could easily guess her condition by the deep circles under her eyes. Weig was sitting next to her. He looked fine on the outside, but his eyes were also drenched in fatigue. Although he rarely felt tired due to his difficult training and enormous holy energy, considering the fact that even Weig seemed tired indicated that the workload of the high-ranking Karuwimans was intense.

“It is as you say, Sir Zich. I’m awfully busy these days.” Lubella leaned back on her chair and tilted her head back. As a Saintess, Lubella rarely showed a disorderly appearance, so her current behavior indicated how tired she was these days. Weig would have normally said a few words of rebuke, but he remained silent; it seemed as if he thought that Lubella’s behavior was completely understandable considering the situation.

Zich easily guessed the cause of their fatigue. “It’s because of the traitors, right?”

“Yes.” After finding out that the Karuwiman’s Honorary Knight, Glen Zenard, and a former priest, Uruwon Luce, had ties to the Bellids, the Karuwimans fell into emergency mode. The Karuwiman Honorary Knight position was so important that as long as they had the faith of a Karuwiman, they could immediately be appointed as an official Karuwiman Holy Knight. However, it turned out that Glen Zenard, who was awarded such a high position, was a Bellid collaborator. Just this fact alone was an extremely serious and dire matter, but compared to Uruwon Luce, his case was better. Even if he was an Honorary Knight, Glen wasn’t an official member of the Karuwimans, and his faith would need to be verified to be formally appointed as a Holy Knight.

If an Honorary Knight tried to enter the Karuwiman ranks with ulterior motives, they could be filtered out during the verification process. As a result, they could at least make some excuses about making a mistake in appointing Glen as an Honorary Knight. However, the case with Uruwon Luce was completely different. He had been an official Karuwiman member, and he wasn’t just an ordinary member—he was a key figure in line to be the next high priest and had a high chance of becoming the next pope.

However, it was revealed that he was a Bellid follower. This was probably the worst event to have ever happened in Karuwiman’s history. Naturally, they began thoroughly investigating every person inside the Karuwiman’s internal branch. Since they found out that the Bellids’ roots had spread to their main body, they needed to pull them out by using any means. Thus, the Karuwimans was currently conducting a massive internal verification, and this was the cause of Lubella and Weig’s fatigue.

“It must be very tiring since it’s very difficult to get rid of the parasites.”

“Yes, but it is a necessary task.” Unlike her haggard appearance, Lubella’s eyes burned with zeal. “It still makes me shudder to think that the dirty Bellids dared to breach the internal and sacred ranks of the Karuwimans.”

This was equivalent to a horrifying insect wriggling under one’s skin.

“No matter how tired you are, you can’t leave a parasite that eats your body alone.” Weig nodded and enthusiastically agreed with Lubella.

Lubella said, “We can rest later. The first thing we have to do is wipe them all out.”

“As expected, that’s what you think, Lady Lubella. Then I think I can happily hand this over to you.” Zich placed the envelope next to him in front of Lubella.

“What is this?”

“This is one of the reasons why I came to see you today.”

Lubella opened the envelope right away and found several papers inside. She looked at Zich, took out the documents, and began reading. Weig also slightly moved his upper body to check the contents of the document, and their eyes widened at the same time.

“This, this is…”

“I thought the Karuwimans would need this right now.” Zich picked up his teacup and leisurely smelled it. However, Lubella and Weig couldn’t be as relaxed as Zich.

Lubella asked, “I-is this real?”

“Of course.”

The document that they were holding was a list of Bellid spies within the Karuwimans. As Zich said, this was what the Karuwimans needed more than anything now.

“Of course, you will have to confirm it yourselves, but I am confident that the report is 100% accurate.” Since his source was Lyla’s knowledge, Zich confirmed its accuracy with complete confidence.

“I’ll immediately go and check right now!” Lubella sprang to her feet, but Zich wasn’t done speaking yet.

“There’s one more thing I want to tell you. Why don’t you leave after hearing it?”

Lubella immediately sat back down. The fatigue in her eyes was completely gone. Instead, her eyes glittered with anticipation to the point that it was overwhelming. She looked extremely eager to find out Zich’s next present, and Zich did not disappoint Lubella’s expectations.

He said, “Perhaps, are you interested in attacking the Bellids’ main base?”

“…Can I kiss you right now, Sir Zich?” Even though Lubella had dedicated herself to Karuna, she really wanted to give Zich a deep kiss right now.

However, Zich gently refused. “It’s enough for me that you show interest. But most of all, my lips have already been claimed by someone else.”